In general, most people who receive a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction do not go to prison. First-time offenders generally face misdemeanor charges. A misdemeanor conviction may include county jail time, but you will not go to state prison unless the court convicts you of a felony offense. This could occur if they convict you of:
- A third or subsequent conviction
- DWI with a child passenger
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
A First Offense Could Call for Time Behind Bars
While you will not go to prison for a first DWI conviction, you could still spend time behind bars. The penalties for this conviction could include time in the county jail. In some cases, the judge in your case may probate your jail time, and you can avoid it by following the terms of your probation.
For a second conviction, the judge cannot probate your full jail sentence. You will need to serve at least a short term in the county jail before beginning probation.
A Third or Subsequent Offense Could Mean Prison Time
If you have two previous DWI convictions, the third charge will be a third-degree felony. This could result in much more significant penalties that your first two DWI convictions which could include two to ten years in state prison in addition to a hefty fine and extended driver’s license suspension.
It is important to note that it may be easier to face a felony DWI charge in Texas than in many other states because Texas does not put a limit on the look-back period for DWIs. This means if you have two previous DWI convictions — even from decades ago — it could mean facing a felony charge this time around.
DWI With a Child Passenger Is a Felony Offense
You may face prison time if convicted of DWI with a child passenger in Texas. This is a felony charge. Having a passenger under the age of 15-years-old in the car when you get arrested on suspicion of a DWI could trigger this type of charge. Texas considers this as child endangerment, and takes this charge very seriously. Penalties could include up to two years in prison if convicted, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Intoxication Assault Is a Third-Degree Felony
If you cause an accident and the police believe it is because you were driving drunk or drugged, you could face intoxication assault charges. Intoxication assault occurs when:
- A driver causes an accident
- The driver’s intoxication is most likely a causative factor
- Another party suffers serious injuries
If the court convicts you of this third-degree felony, you could spend two to ten years in prison. It is important to note that there is a 30-day mandatory minimum prison sentence for intoxication assault. This means that if convicted you will spend at least a month behind bars.
Intoxication Manslaughter Convictions Lead to Significant Prison Time
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony charge. Intoxication manslaughter is similar to intoxication assault, only the victim injured in the accident passes away. If the court convicts you of this charge, you could face two to 20 years in a Texas state prison. The mandatory minimum prison sentence for this conviction is 120 days in prison.
Eddington Worley Attorneys Can Help You Fight DWI Charges in Texas
If you were arrested for a Texas DWI or a related charge, the team from Eddington Worley Attorneys can develop a defense strategy based on the facts of your case. We may be able to help you get a more favorable outcome in your case, including avoiding jail time if convicted of a misdemeanor or an extended prison sentence following a felony conviction. Let us go to work for you today.
Talk to a Texas DWI Attorney About Your Case Today
At Eddington Worley Attorneys, we know how stressful and scary it can be to face a DWI or related charge. We understand you do not want to go to prison, and we can help you pursue an outcome that limits the time you have to spend behind bars.
If the police arrested you on suspicion of DWI in Texas, we can help. Even if you do not yet face charges, go ahead and give us a call at 855-600-6695. We can explain our services and walk you through the legal process.